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Right shoe worn by Harold Tanner (Poncho)

Date: 1976-1995
Overall: 76 x 105 x 273 mm, 0.3 kg
Medium: Leather, synthetic leather, paint, rubber
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Tanner & Rose Clowns
Object Name: Shoe
Object No: 00033953

User Terms

    This right moccasin style leather shoe was worn by Harold Tanner as Poncho the Clown, one half of the Poncho and Bubbles clown act. Poncho and Bubbles performed on cruises to New Zealand and the Pacific Islands for almost 20 years. In true clown tradition, they appeared in big bright clown costumes with full makeup and oversized props.
    SignificanceFrom the 1970s cruise lines such as Sitmar and P&O pitched their cruises as affordable family fun. Professional staff, activities and entertainers were provided for children, leaving parents free to relax. The Poncho and Bubbles collection is representative of a period when performers like clowns were fashionable entertainment for children on cruise liners. Today Poncho and Bubbles remain one of the longest running clown shows in Australia (1976-1995).
    HistoryHarold Tanner (Poncho) and Marcelle Rose (Bubbles) started out as duettists singing musical numbers and opera in the 1950s. They worked clubs and hotels by night under the name Tanner and Rose and performed at children's parties by day as clowns Poncho and Bubbles.

    Poncho and Bubbles were spotted by a scout for Sitmar cruises in 1976 and were employed on the FAIRSKY end-of-year cruise. They were a huge success and were booked to work again. They continued to perform for school holiday cruises on ships like FAIRSTAR, ORIANA, MINGHUA, CANBERRA and ACHILLE LAURO for the next 20 years.

    Poncho and Bubbles liked to work close to their audience and personalised their act by transforming themselves from Marcelle and Harold into Bubbles and Poncho while on stage. They would start in their civilian clothes and slowly apply their characteristic clown makeup and put on their costumes, socks, shoes, wig and hat. This was their trademark performance. Marcelle and Harold believed that many children were scared of clowns so this visual transformation helped children understand that clowns were real people.

    Their son Clive was born in 1961. He started performing as Pimple when he was six years old. At 15 he would work on one ship while his parents performed on another. By the late 1990s there was a definite shift away from entertainers like Poncho and Bubbles. Their last performance was on FAIRSTAR in 1995.
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    Web title: Right shoe worn by Harold Tanner (Poncho)

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